WVU Hopes To Avoid Mistakes of Big 12

West Virginia's turnovers down the stretch were a big part of the Mountaineers loss to Baylor in the Big 12 Championship, but assistant coach Erik Martin pointed out another factor that contributed heavily to the defeat. And despite the anticipation of the NCAA tournament, he won't forget the sting of the conference loss.

Martin, West Virginia's assistant coach who works primarily with the big men, was mostly happy with the way his team attacked the Baylor zone, and said he wouldn't have changed anything with WVU's approach.

"Not really," he said of anything that he or the other coaches would have done differently. "We were on record as saying we can't put them on the foul line and they took 34 free throws. We're not going to win any games with [the opponent] shooting 34 free throws. The made 26, so that's 26 points with the clock stopped and no defense in front of them. That hurt us, and then we made a couple of what I call young turnovers that hurt."

The Bears doubled WVU's free throw scoring in the game, which more than accounted for the ten-point final margin. That, in addition, to the mistakes made down the stretch by the Mountaineers, were chief in Martin's assessment of the reasons for the loss. However, he saw that as a teaching point that he hopes will be beneficial moving forward.

"These kids are growing up day by day. Would we have made those [mistakes] if we had had Wanny and Gary? No. But kids have to step up and know how urgent every possession is. These few games they were out it has taught them that possessions matter. And if you take one off, something bad is going to happen. And it did.

"We are a team where someone goes down next man up, so everyone in the locker room has enough minutes to know what we need to do and what we should do," Martin concluded.

While not wanting to forget those lessons learned, Martin did take comfort in the fact that the Mountaineers were comfortably in the field.

"We'll take a couple of days off and try to get healthy. We still have games to play. It's better than the last two years. You always want to win the tournaments you are in. We wanted to win the Big 12, but now we will move on to the next one."

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